Do it for Big John: Small town honors longtime football team assistant

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HAMILTON, Texas From the first practice John Hall ever attended at Hamilton high school, he was hooked.

“John was probably the number one bulldog fan ever,” says his mother Roseann Hall.

John nicknamed “Big John” by the community, was a Hamilton Bulldog football fixture for the past 15 years.

However, John never was able to take the field in pads.

Born with a 4th chromosome abnormality, he had seven surgeries before he turned 7.

“Doctors said he would be a shorter man,” says Roseann.

“They also said he would be low in math and he was low in math,” she says.

Starting in junior high he began helping the football team as an “assistant to the coaches.”

Graduating in 2005, John wouldn’t stray far from home instead taking a full time job at the school.

His infectious personality rubbing off onto the students and staff at Hamilton.

“John Hall kept everybody laughing,” says Football Coach Sonny Delagraza.

“You come in having a bad day and it wasn’t long for big john to pick them up,” he said speaking to the kind of person John was.

Being a great friend to all of those in the community until the end.

In January John passed away at the age of 33, something the family says was always a possibility due to his chromosome abnormality.

“I don’t think he understood how much he meant to the community,” says sister-in-law Chelsi Hall who drive John to work everyday.

Chelsi says the players on the Bulldog team was John’s life.

“As soon as he would get out of the car, they’d be like ’Big John,’” she said.

Now with John no longer around, players are having a difficult time filling his void.

“Coming out for football this year I honestly contemplating playing or not just because the atmosphere is different,” says Jace Sloan who was very close to John.

Sloan along with many others in the town of Hamilton described John as the person who “never met a stranger.”

That kind of kindness is why so many felt compelled to honor the longtime Hamilton employee, as the district named the Bulldog’s field house after John.

This was a place Chelsi says John spent much of his time as an assistant to the coaches, “He ran that field house,” she said.

“He knew where everything was. If anyone ever needed something they went to him,” says Chelsi.

In honor of John the community has also helped with a scholarship fund in his name, t-shirts for all bulldog buddies with John’s picture, and a battle flag presented with John.

All of these tributes for the man who left a huge mark on Hamilton.

“A legacy in my opinion will be here forever,” says Coach Sonny Delagraza.